Foolproof organic way to treat lawn for chiggers?

bo_berrinApril 19, 2007

This is probably common knowledge 'round these parts, but I don't know it yet. Is there a foolproof organic way to treat my lawn for chiggers? I got about ten bites in all last year, so they're not a big problem, but I must be super-sensitive to them or something. The welt gets really big and red and angry and ITCHY and stays like that for a full week until it finally starts to subside, despite all treatments, including Chiggerrid (sp?). Nobody else in the family seems to get bitten at all, or if they do, they're not as sensitive.

All of us, including the puppy (and hummingbirds, scissor-tails, butterflies, etc.), play in the backyard everyday, so organic is important.

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I spread Sulphur on my yard. It stinks but only for a few days then the smell isn't bad and the chiggers go away.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 11:24AM
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Beneficial nemotodes work too. I've used sulphur too, the pellet kind lasts longer.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 11:55AM
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I can stand the stink much easier than the itch! Sulfur pellets it is. I've heard other good things about the nemotodes, too--I'll have to check into that.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 12:10PM
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A great way to get rid of the itch from bug bites including chiggers and mosquitoes that works for me and my family all the time is dissolving some Regular Aspirin in warm water. Apply it to the bite and within a few minutes the itch is gone and won't bother you ever again. Sorry can't help you with the bugs though.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 6:37PM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

Sulphur will also rid your yard of fleas, ticks and snakes --- snakes positively cannot stand the smell of it.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 10:21PM
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We apply beneficial nematodes on our yard and it helps keep the chiggers in check.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 10:46PM
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rcnaylor(z7 Tex)

When it comes to those little buggers... I'd suggest a propane torch. ANd lots of it. ;)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 11:08PM
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lindseyrose(8b/9 Texas)

I've never had chiggers in the YARD (wow, yikes!) but I have gotten bites at YMCA day camp, on a golf course, and other places in my childhood. I just wanted to chime in and say, your bites only bother you for a week? My last one (the golf course, which I got b/c we were sitting watching the neighborhood fireworks show) stayed with me for months. I got so used to scratching that spot that I still got phantom itches there, after it was cleared up.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 7:35AM
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You obviously don't have fire ants. Fire ants will eat chiggers, fleas and ticks. What a choice...

Carla in Leander

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 10:08AM
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I've never heard of that aspirin trick--I'm going to try it! I wonder how long the solution would last if I make up a bunch of it? We live at the lake, so there's no shortage of biting insects in the summertime. I don't like using a lot of bug repellent, so we get bitten pretty regularly.

Lindsey, you poor thing! I've had a couple bouts like that and it's not fun. I try not to scratch the bites at all, but during times like that, it's impossible. I'd wake up at night and find that I'd been scratching my ankles bloody in my sleep, and then they take forever to heal. Maybe we're allergic to them? Nobody else in my family seems to react this way to them.

Sulfur definitely sounds like the way to go. I don't want the chiggers or fleas to move in, and ticks are from the devil himself. And snakes? No way. I can't tell the difference between good ones and bad ones, so I'd just as soon have none!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 10:40AM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

Sulfur helps at my house too. BTW, I got cheated. I have fire ants too! Dang!PJ

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 2:49PM
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another vote for dusting sulfur. It works like a charm. I usually give a quick spray with a hose to get in into the soil. Once a year seems to do the trick.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 3:38PM
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A pest control person told me chiggers lice in pockets, not all over the lawn. If you can figure out what part of the garden you were in when you got bit, you will have to treat that area only.
That was 3 or 4 years ago and I have gotten bit again.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 5:35PM
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So where would I find pelletized sulfur for me to dust my lawn with? I can't find it on the big box websites (HD, Lowes, etc.) Any help anyone?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 3:14PM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

Russel's feed carries it. PJ

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 3:21PM
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kayakita(z9 TX)

Whenever I sit, stand, or walk on my backyard paver patio, I get bitten on the ankles, feet, lower legs and arms at least half a dozen times within 5-10 minutes by some invisible creatures. Could these be chiggers or do they only live on the lawn?

Also.. Is putting sulphur on the grass safe for pets? My lab loves to lie in the grass and chew on whatever he can find nearby.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 4:10AM
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hitexplanter(8 a)

Another option to consider is Greenlight's cedar granules. I applied in early July and they were gone in the next two days. They haven't been back since. The fireants did come back after the heavy rains of later July and August however:( Says reapply every two months. In a dry year I am guessing longer and in a wet year probably shorter. It is safe for all pets and helps repelling fleas, skeeters, and other biting insects. I have only found one scorpion in the garden center this year. Unfortunately he-she got me for my first scorp sting ever. Not as bad as I thought but worse than a wasp sting by a bit. It was on the hand so maybe being a tough spot wasn't as bad as if it were in a more sensitive area of the bod.... won't go there ...
Good Luck and as always
Happy Growing David

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 8:36AM
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ron00023(NW Houston)

Use much better

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 6:27PM
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"Use much better"

What chemicals? Sulphur is a chemical. Sulphur is primarily a miticide, so it is more selective than something like Durisban (or any of the other organophosphates).

Is the use of sulphur considered an "organic" practice? I don't know, but I would much rather put sulphur on my lawn (the worst danger is likely inhalation, which can irritate the lungs), than the more "conventional" pesticides for chiggers, such as carbaryl (Sevin), chlorpyrifos (Dursban), diazinon or cyfluthrin (Tempo).

As noted in one of the posts above, chiggers are concentrated in "mite islands" (if you could just find the darn things!). However, even if you kill all the chiggers that are in your lawn right now, they will reinvade on their typical hosts, which are small reptiles and rodents (plenty of those around my part of the woods).

I haven't tried beneficial nematodes (they seem very expensive to me, if you want to treat an acre or so). I haven't ever seen a study that shows they are effective against chiggers. Does anyone know of such research?



    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 4:20PM
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I actually prefer NOT to use chemicals because we want to protect our water source as much as possible. We have a well and besides that, do you realize how many thousands (or more) tons of chemicals are dumped onto our country's soil every year! There are thousands of perfectly natural ways to treat specific insets without destroying all the beneficial ones that you need to keep a natural balance in your yard and garden. One of the reasons the US bee population is in such a dire situation is because of the widespread use of chemicals in our yards and fields. There are tons of natural gardening websites that have countless ways to preserve the natural balance of our environment and still allow us to enjoy our yards and gardens.
Sulphur, I believe, is safe for pets, etc. We use diatomaceous earth(DE) as much as possible for area infestations (chiggers do congregate in areas v. the whole yard). Not positive DE works on chiggers but would suspect so because of the way it works on other crawling insects.
As far as the bites themselves, some people are just more sensitive to the saliva that the chiggers inject into the skin that digests and provides a liquid meal. The swelling and itching can be controlled but the length of time always varies from person to person.
I have been fortunate, while I do still get bites (when I forget to spray my ankles, shoes and lower pants and around waist) my bites just get red, may itch mildly, and just leave a red spot for a few weeks. So-I may have red spotted ankles and feet but don't have to deal with the massive itching and swelling. I feel so bad for those who do!!!! I use to have quite a reaction to them but I guess my body has built up antibodies against the reaction.
Does anyone here know if the DE works on chiggers? We are having a fight with them right now and I may try the sulfur instead this time. We use sulfur on some other planting beds but will give it a shot if it works better than DE. Good luck chasing them 'redbugs' down!!
Please think of the environmental impact before applying widespread chemicals!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 10:58AM
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I have no idea how to rid a yard of chiggers, we have 4 acres here infested with them. However, I do know a foolproof cure for chigger bites. Simply apply clear nail polish over the site of the bite. A chigger injects a chemical saliva to aid feeding. It doesn't itch until the chigger has finished feeding and fallen off at which point that chemical saliva comes in contact with the air. Its the contact with the air which causes the crazy itch. Sealing the bite site with clear nail polish eliminates the exposure to the air and the itch disappears immediately.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 1:42AM
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Chiggers are a part of life here in the Ozarks. Right now I'm so bit up I can't even count the number of bites, so I've been reading up on how to deal with them and there sure is a lot of conflicting information.

Many of the sites I've visited talked about chiggers living in short grass in sunny spots and others talk about shady moist areas. I've got both in my front and back yard.

I've read that diatomaceous earth works to control them, and I've read it doesn't work at all. I've read sulfur dust works, and that it doesn't as well. I haven't tried either yet.

I'm going to try using diatomaceous earth and report the results here.

For the record, I'm sure I've got bit in our very sunny and shortly mowed lawn, and in our "Forest Garden" front yard, and in the sunny pasture behind our house, and the forest that surrounds it. I'll offer I get bit most in the shady moist areas with lots of mulch.

The only relief I can get, and still go outside, is to use clothes sprayed with permethrin. I don't like that much, but bug spray doesn't really work well if you're out for longer than an hour or two, and even less if you're sweating.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 4:18PM
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